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Ashes of Middenheim Chapter Three (IC thread)


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#21 Orcslicer

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 04:35 PM

That'll do... you find the box after only a very short search, amongst the damp baggage piled together at the centre of your camp. Father Odo swears that he did not put it there, and only set it down at his feet a few moments before Allaen approached him.

#22 Avaris

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:51 PM

The Lady, he had seen the Lady.

As his trembling hands clumsily put up the tents, Orderic's mind replayed the events in his head again and again. He did not feel the cold, even though his body shivered; it was as if he was filled by a warmth from within.

He had seen The Lady.

One fact to hold onto, one thing that had given him life even as he plunged into icy depths. He was not worthy of this privilege; why had his goddess blessed him so? There had to be a reason... he cast his mind back. He had walked alongside the Lady for what felt like an eternity, as the shadows ahead grew ever clearer. One stood out above all; Anna, pale and drawn, tears streaming down her face. Looking at his hand he had seen the Fleur DE Lys icon that normally hung from his neck, seemingly ripped from its cord by the water yet placed in his palm by the Lady herself and clutched so tightly that it bled.

He was still holding it even now he realised.

Anna had led him from that place, and now they were in the woods once more, with beasts on their trail. Time was of the essence, but with a sudden flash of insight Orderic realised what he must do, what the Lady desired of him. His eyes were filled with a strange gleam as he turned to Anna.

"Anna Abendroth. Bring me my sword."

#23 Eldacar

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:02 AM

Allaen narrowed his eyes at the box, but said nothing. For now. Instead, he walked over to Maeglin. "You are still fine?" he asked. "No real harm or the like? Other than the water, of course."

#24 Orcslicer

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:36 AM

A combined work from myself and Avaris - as he will be away this weekend, we thought it best to construct this as one slightly extended post. For the record, Orderic used his XP on purchasing the vow of purity, and this is the justification.

Anna turned to look at the knight, shivering as though spirits sought release from his body. She paused, hesitating. His ordeal had shaken him, and Sigmar only knew if he was fully aware of his surroundings. If she brought him his sword, would she be adding fuel to the fire? The knight clearly needed rest and recovery. Her decision melted away as she looked into his eyes; still intelligent and aware. Walking away from Maeglin, she retrieved the knight's sword from his pack and handed it to him, aware that the others were looking on with wary interest. She halted in front of the knight, and held the pommel out.

Orderic unsheathed his weapon, and the action seemed calming, for his shivers seemed to subside. He knelt, and rested the point of his blade in the ground. With his other hand, he let the fleur DE lys he had held so strongly since his revival drop.

"Anna Abendroth, as a Lady of high birth I ask you to hear my vow. I have seen The Lady, and now know a little of her will."

The merchants daughter flushed a little as she responded: "Sir, I am but a merchants daughter. My blood, if noble, is watered down through several generations; only my grandmother was a courtier to the emperor in Altdorf. But if that is to your agreement, then I will gladly hear your vow."

The knight inclined his head, indicating acceptance, before continuing: "I, Orderic Llangar, son of Trian, brother of Tancred, brother of Aigulf, declare myself a knight and servant of The Lady. She guides both my noble blade and my chivalrous heart, she is my shield and my sword, she is my beginning and my end. With her blessing, I have seen my once clouded path made clear, and have been saved from death by her guiding hand. In the name of the Lady, I will seek to perfect my flawed mortal body by following in the example of the Grail Companions of old, to uphold their virtues and to quest for the grail. In particular, I will model myself upon the great Lord Rademund, first Duke of Quenelles, purest of all Gilles's companions. His virtues of purity and honour I take as my own, and I will live my life as he once did, until such a time as the Lady sees fit to end my servitude." Orderic looked up, giving Anna a moment to absorb the information.

"Further, I vow that I will see that purity extended to others. Anna Abendroth, my soul will not rest in The Lady's embrace until your purity is returned to you, until your noble soul is rewarded by a cure to that which afflicts you. My blade, should you desire it, is yours to command, and if you should perish before your time and before you are pure once more my own life is forfeit."

Anna, unsure how to react, turns her head to look at Allaen and Odo. "It is a noble gesture, Sir Llangar, and I know that you have sought to help me without any duty to do so, but I do not insist that you would offer to die on my account." She leans in and continues emotionally: "I desire your companionship more than your service; but you shield yourself from that duty with your vows and your chivalry... It is clear your care for me is only for the l-love of another!" The girl ends the conversation with an angry scowl at the fleur DE lys at her feet, before turning away and busying herself with preparing some wood for a fire, leaving Orderic speechless for a moment, and looking hurt.

Edited by Orcslicer, 24 July 2009 - 11:39 AM.


#25 Eldacar

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 12:14 PM

"An interesting exchange," Allaen observed to Maeglin in the Eltharin tongue. "A human custom? I am somewhat unfamiliar with the particularly old ones."

#26 paraicj

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 01:25 PM

OOC: 22 on routine Perception, should pass. May be the first time Julen passed a perception test!

Julen shivered almost uncontrollably, but given the Dwarf's words, he could not lie down and rest. "We must make a fire so, regardless of the danger. Gurni will not die if we can help it."

#27 Hyarion

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:23 PM

"When I tried to save him, I s-------" The words stuck in Maeglin's throat as he witnessed the exchange between Orderic and Anna. All that could be hoped now was that the human would not lose his head towards what must be done in the clouds of his renewed sense of piety.

"In Athel Loren, because we are near to Bretonia, we encounter these ainurochallim once in a while, they feel it brings them closer to their goddess. From my encounters with them on the battlefield, they think their faith protects them and they make themselves a bigger target for the arrows of my people than they should."

"When I tried to save him, I caught my leg on a leg on a sharp rock somewhere in the stream, if you could exercise your craft, I would be grateful. I fear the fire will draw unwanted guests and we will need all of our wits." said the elf, replying in Eltharin.

#28 Eldacar

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 02:51 PM

Allaen nodded, reaching out and murmuring the necessary words, pressing his hand to Maeglin's leg as he manipulated the Winds of Magic and summoned healing energy. "Ainurochallim are religious warriors, then," he said by way of reply. "But you mentioned something about when you tried to save him?"

OOC: Healing of Hysh with two dice, rolling a 6 and a 9. Passed, and Maeglin regains two wounds.

#29 Orcslicer

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 05:17 PM


Pariac - Julen, observing the underground river entrance for some time, is now fairly certain that the beastmen were turned back by Gurni, as no sight or sound has been heard of them since. In the distance to the west, you fancy you can make out the orange glow of a fire from the side of a valley in the dark. It is only fleeting, but you are certain you saw it and that it wasn't the glint of a weapon or a trick of the moonlight.

____________

Eldy - noted.

After a further icy 10 minutes, Anna returns with enough wood for a fire, but struggles to get it lit, unskilled as she is at dealing with such tasks from her background. She makes do by pouring some oil on the kindling, ensuring the fire begins to burn very well indeed; prompting Maeglin to quickly tame the flames with some water from his gourd. When the fire is downsized, and under control, he returns to his post. Anna, clearly not in the best of moods, insists on going for a walk alone.

Edited by Orcslicer, 24 July 2009 - 05:23 PM.


#30 Hyarion

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 06:09 PM

"Nothing, merely responding to your first question. But tell me, several of us have horses and gear left at the inn. I do not know how which of us will be welcomed back, but our horses will help us unload our burden faster. Should we risk the delay? The innkeeper at least should know of the warherd so close at hand which may decide to vent it's rage on them." replied Maeglin switching to Reikspiel to include Father Odo in the conversation, flexing his leg and nodding in approval and gratitude.

#31 Orcslicer

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 07:14 PM

The sooner we find the Old Forest Road, the better," offers Father Odo, moving to warm himself by the fire. "Beyond that point we are past relative danger, if Ulric wills it. Our greatest peril lies in getting out of the depths of the forest in one piece. The Swan and Three deserve to know of the danger, as we have played no small part in leading them there... however, given the unfortunate circumstances in which we passed, I think it better not to stay a night there again. The witch hunters may have informants keeping watch for us."

The priest takes a strip of dried meat pressed into his hand by Orderic and begins to chew on it thoughtfully, rapping the box in which the skull is contained. "I hope the others are out there, somewhere," he says after an extended pause. "Julen is a good lad, and the dwarfs... well, we'd be hard pressed to find stouter hearts."

#32 Hyarion

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 09:16 PM

"Whether we lead the beastmen to the inn or not, you may depend on the fact that the beastmen know where it is and how best to assail it. If we elude them, the herd may vent its anger at our escape on the nearest soft target, namely the inn. Of course, they might do that anyways. A beastherd is like a rotted tree waiting to fall, they always will, but you never know when." said the elf as his eyes followed Anna as she left the small circle of light cast by the fire, that girl was going to lead trouble back to them he was sure.

"The others are out there, we would know the signs if they were not, so keep hope. But sleep for now tomorrow will bring new tests and we must be ready to meet them, Priest." said Maeglin as he moved to be as far out of the firelight as he dared. Anything that found them would do better to not to see a silhouette of a sentinel.

#33 Eldacar

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:04 PM

"Watch over Anna, Maeglin," Allaen called softly in Eltharin. "Ensure she comes to no harm. And I think we will see the others again," he said to the priest. "But I will need to stop at the inn in order to retrieve some items I have left stored there."

#34 paraicj

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:27 PM

While the Priest ministered to Gurni, Julen watched the surrounds, trying to think. The beasts seemed scattered, thanks to the near-insane bravery of the scholar. The area around was deserted...or was it? The glow of a fire, surely?

He returned to the two Dwarfs, still shivering, to plan what they would do. "Skalf, we need fire. There is a fire perhaps 10 minutes walk from here, but I can not tell if it is friend or foe. Also, moving our rotund hero may prove difficult. I fear we must make do with our present location. I will find firewood as quickly as possibe, or we might be in trouble. Unless you have a better plan?"

#35 Hyarion

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 11:34 PM

"I'll keep her safe.", whispered Maeglin as he climbed slowly down the far side of the boulder circling around the firelight to pick up Anna's trail while staying back far enough to leave her to her thoughts.

OOC: 54 rolled for Silent move test. 66 rolled for a perception test to hear/see anything else.

#36 Orcslicer

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:06 AM

The solemn dwarf looked up from his work. "Either option is undesirable. For best protection, we would do well to join with the others; my medical supplies are limited, and I have done what I can, but Maeglin could help more with his knowledge of woodland herbs. However, as you point out, moving Gurni will not be easy through these dense woods, and we have found no trail at present to follow."

"On the other hand, if there are beastmen close by then a fire in this clearing will be like bending over for them," Skalf added, equally seriously. "We need at very least to get under the cover of the forest, so as not to advertise our position, and then take it in turns to guard. However, if you are certain you saw a camp in such close proximity to us, it bears well to investigate it. I will stay with Gurni, if you wish."

OOC; I'll inform you that your guess of 10 minutes away is a fair amount out, but since it makes sense that Julen would have little forest navigation experience I'll let him continue believing that. Your call if you want to go off into the woods alone, move everyone with you, or stay put.

___________

I'll deal with the Anna thing in while, but in the mean time the rest of you tuck into some food by the campfire. Father Odo opens the box briefly and checks that the skull is in there before seeming to doze off, sitting up, arms clasped around it.

Orderic, after a while in silence, rocks backward and slumps against his pack for comfort. "I saw you talk with Anna earlier," he comments, when he hears Odo begin to breath gently. "I know what you're planning. And I want your word that you will not attempt it until you are certain it will do no harm to her."

#37 paraicj

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 12:32 PM

Julen considered Skalf's words carefully, still shivering, his legs stiffening in the cold. He knew what choice he had to make, dangerous though it was. "I am no woodsman, Skalf, as you well know, and neither are you. I would probably end up hopelessly lost finding the othercamp, or at least take long enough to further endanger Gurni. Let us move into the forest a little way and start a fire. Both Gurni and, unfortunately, I, need warmth soon. In the morning, we will follow the others if we can find any evidence of their passing. We will survive the night as well as we can." As he leant to pick up the shoulders of the prostrate Gurni, he thought of something. "Do we have flint and tinder between us? I hope so." With a shake of his head, he lifted Gurni's upper body to drag him to the tree line.

#38 Orcslicer

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 01:26 PM

With Skalf's help, Julen manages to haul the dwarf into the forest, covering him in showers of pine needles, thick cobwebs, tree mulch and other hazards expected through pushing between the close packed trees. It does not take long for the clearing to recede out of sight, though the progress is painfully slow.
When satisfied that you are sufficiently deep in the woods, you stop. The floor here is bedded with tall and fragrant pines, close packed so that visibility is maybe 20m or so in any direction. A number of low shrubs dot your surroundings also, doing well to conceal the fire that you arrange for yourselves.

I'll leave it to your judgement how much of your stuff you managed to get away with - we didn't really cover it in the tomb, but I think that you generally carried what you could with you in backpacks. Whether you think you would have abandoned or lost these is up to your common sense; regardless, about your persons you find that you have the sufficient tools for a small fire and for a fairly unappetising meal. With no room for tents anyway, this really only affects whether you have any blankets/changes of clothes to get out of your wet things.

Skalf volunteers his cloak to cover Gurni and his robes to Julen, should he need them [muttering that the night air is positively warm compared to the mountains in which he grew up, and that he has no problem sleeping bare-chested], keeping only his britches underneath and an amulet of his god about his neck. He also volunteers to take the first watch.

Edited by Orcslicer, 25 July 2009 - 01:27 PM.


#39 Eldacar

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 01:36 PM

Allaen looked at Orderic with an expression that was faintly puzzled. "I am not planning anything," he informed the knight. "And even if I were, I have no reason to hurt her."

#40 paraicj

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 01:46 PM

Julen tried to fend off Skalf's offer of clothing, but his furiously chattering teeth made a lie of his protests. Grumbling like a dwarf, he looked through his pack, finding his spare shirt and breeches, still stained from the trek through the sewer in Middenheim. After changing, he gratefully allowed Skalf the first watch. "Wake me for any sound that is out of place, Skalf. We cannot be too careful tonight." Still shivering, he curled in a ball with his back to the reposing Gurni, as close to the small fire as possible.




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